Top 10 Epic Zuko Moments in Avatar: The Last Airbender
VOICE OVER: Ashley Bowman
WRITTEN BY: Alex Crilly-Mckean
These epic Zuko moments were full of honor. For this list, we'll be looking at the exiled prince's most iconic moments from across the Avatar series. Our countdown includes Zuko vs Zhao, dancing with dragons, reuniting with Iroh, and more!
Spoiler alert, there’s a lot of honor on this list. Welcome to WatchMojo, and today we are counting down our picks for the Top 10 Epic Zuko Moments.
For this list, we’ll be looking at the exiled prince’s most iconic moments from across the Avatar series. Battles, internal conflicts, heartfelt confessions... so long as the future fire lord gives us the feels, they count!
#10: Zuko vs Zhao
“The Southern Air Temple”
An arrogant commander with a severe chip on his shoulder, Commander Zhao wasn’t subtle about his dislike for the banished prince, having every intention of capturing the Avatar for himself and ensuring that Zuko remained an exile. Of course, you can only play with fire for so long before you get burned, leading to the two engaging in the ancient life or death tradition of Agni-Kai. Not only is this the first time the show had us actively rooting for Zuko to claim victory, but further enforced the cosmic truth that if you want to succeed in life – listen to Uncle Iroh.
#9: All Hail Fire Lord Zuko
“Sozin’s Comet: Part 4 - Avatar Aang”
And just like that, Zuko’s character arc comes full circle. Following Ozai’s defeat, Zuko finally fulfills his destiny and is declared Fire Lord before the eyes of the world. While he had originally sought to return to his royal status out of a sense of damaged ego, misplaced longing and a means to regain his honor, the young man we see ascend the throne is almost the complete opposite. Now wiser, more compassionate, and at peace, it’s a testament to the extraordinary journey he undertook and the inner strength needed for him to become the ruler the Fire Nation desperately needed. Aww, we’re so proud!
#8: Chasing Lightning
Through bitter work under the tutelage of his Uncle, Zuko succeeded in learning the art of redirecting lightning. Just one problem, Iroh refused to risk his nephew’s life in a physical test. Infuriated, Zuko attempts a somewhat grandiose alternative by climbing atop a mountain in the middle of a storm to try and get an actual lightning bolt to strike him. While we don’t see this happen, we are privy to Zuko howling to the sky, declaring how he can dish back all the pain the world has inflicted on him. It’s a heart-breaking look at how all the punishment he’s suffered has marked him far deeper than his physical scar.
#7: Discovering His Ancestry
“The Avatar and the Fire Lord”
Despite being welcomed back as a Prince of the Fire Nation after siding with Azula, betraying Iroh and supposedly killing the Avatar, Zuko is left more confused than ever about where he belongs and who he truly is. This slowly starts to shift following the discovery of the autobiographical records of Fire Lord Sozin, wherein he learns how the 100 Year War began, as well as how his ancestor’s ambition led to the death of Avatar Roku. Add on the revelation that he is descended from both of these legendary figures, and Zuko is once again left at an impasse.
#6: Joining the Gaang
“The Western Air Temple”
How can watching Team Avatar’s former archenemy attempting to join their group make for both a monumentally epic and equally hilarious sight? Well, if you’re Zuko, it starts with these now three immortal words. It certainly takes a lot of convincing, especially when it turns out that even when he tries to be good, he can still somehow make a situation worse. Thankfully, the combination of freeing Appa, offering to teach Aang firebending and coming to their aid following Combustion Man’s attack leads the gang to accept him, as bizarre as it seems.
#5: Dancing with Dragons
“The Firebending Masters”
Everyone has performance issues, but when Zuko’s firebending starts to falter due to his inner conflict, he and Aang seek out the original masters of firebending. What do they find along the way? A secret city, an intricate dance routine, and two giant dragons – who just happen to be the masters they’re looking for. Who would have guessed the two dancing in unison to the dragons’ movements, as well as Zuko reaffirming his belief in himself, would make for one of the show’s most harmonious and beautiful moments?
#4: Alone in the Earth Kingdom
No good deed goes unpunished. After setting out on his own, Zuko’s morals are put to the test when he is taken in by a poor yet kind Earth Kingdom family living under the siege of a group of mercenaries. Intercut with the last memories of his mother, Zuko ultimately chooses to play the role of hero, even revealing his identity after finally taking the soldiers down a peg with his firebending. His reward? Scorn and rejection from those he saved, purely due to the terror inflicted upon them by the fire nation. It’s a bitter sight, but an essential component of Zuko’s personal growth.
#3: Father and Son
“The Day of Black Sun: Part 2 - The Eclipse”
This is it people, the moment where the Avatar’s resident bad boy made his crucial turning point, but not before confronting his megalomaniac father. On the Day of Black Sun, Zuko drops a bombshell and lets Ozai know that he’s done with him, and he’s going to aid the Avatar in ushering in a new age of peace. Can it get any better? Of course it can, since we not only learn that Zuko’s mother is alive, but he also sends Ozai’s surprise lightning attack right back in his face. Considering how this was the same man who scarred Zuko as a child, this scene proved to be satisfying on so many levels.
#2: Reuniting with Iroh
“Sozin’s Comet: Part 2 - The Old Masters”
Prepare for the waterworks because you will be crying uncontrollably as you watch the now reformed Zuko meet Iroh for the first time since he switched sides. On the eve of the battle with the Fire Nation, Zuko musters his courage and apologizes to his uncle for betraying him back in Ba Sing Se and for all the other misdeeds he has committed in the past…only for Iroh to immediately embrace him, instantly forgive him, and confess just how happy he was to see his beloved nephew find his own way. Who’s water-bending my eyes?!
Before we reveal our number one pick, here are a few “honorable” mentions. See what we did there?
Zuko Goes on a Date
“Tales of Ba Sing Se”
Making Amends with Katara
“The Southern Raiders”
I Rise With the Sun
“The Siege of the North: Part 1”
I’m Angry at Myself
The Blue Spirit
“The Blue Spirit”
#1: Zuko vs Azula
“Sozin’s Comet: Part 3 - Into the Inferno”
Everything amazing about Zuko’s character can be witnessed in this one visually stunning fire fight. In order to reclaim his birthright as the Fire Lord, Zuko challenges his sister Azula to a final Agni-Kai, with Sozin’s Comet elevating their firebending to insane degrees. Not only is the battle itself one of the best in all animation, but we see just how far these two siblings have come – with Zuko’s calm disposition facing off against Azula’s spiraling madness. While having him roast his psychotic sister would have made for a fitting end, Zuko’s willingness to sacrifice himself and save Katara from a fatal lightning attack speaks more to the good-hearted person he truly is.